Yemen: Political Dynamics and the International Policy Framework

I delivered the closing remarks ” Helping Yemen to help itself ” at a day-long conference on Yemen: Political Dynamics and the International Policy Framework at Chatham House, focusing on the current and longer-term challenges for ensuring stability in Yemen and the role of the international community in this process.

The essence of the discussions at the conference and of my concluding observations was that Yemen currently faces four main challenges:

  • economic decline
  • social division
  • political instability
  • terrorist violence

They are all interrelated, they have their sources within and beyond Yemen, some of them have a long history, including of failed strategies to tackle them, some seem to be more recent. Above all, they are not just Yemen’s problems in either their causes or consequences.

Fundamentally, they are linked to the capacity of the Yemeni state to perform four essential tasks and to do so almost simultaneously:

  • to establish and consolidate security and stability across the whole country;
  • to improve the quality and inclusiveness of its political institutions;
  • to generate sustainable economic growth on the back of economic reform and job creation; and
  • to address social inequality and exclusion.

How can Yemeni state capacity be increased such that the state can rise to this challenge? Three key factors stand out from today’s discussion and from a broader comparative perspective on both successes and failures in similar situations around the globe:

  • leadership,
  • international engagement, and
  • policy delivery.

An expanded written version of my observations can be downloaded following the link on the right.

Date

1 November 2010

Event

Workshop

Location

Chatham House